Azerbaijan: monarchy and dictatorship

Azerbaijan is the first absolute monarchy in the territory of the late Soviet Union. The power is unlimited and passed…

Near East

30 November 2018, 23:58


Azerbaijan is the first absolute monarchy in the territory of the late Soviet Union. The power is unlimited and passed from father to son. This did not come even in Turkmenistan, where the son of the sun Turkmenbashi betrayed his Homeland and emigrated to Russia.

Officially, Azerbaijan is a Republic, but in reality, it is the Sultanate. The president Ilham Aliyev-the son and successor of the first President of the Republic-Heydar Aliyev was first elected in 2003. On April 11, 2018, as a result of special elections, he was re-elected, taking the post of President of Azerbaijan for the fourth time. Neither the small active independent mass-media in Azerbaijan, nor the OSCE representatives, nor the international observers reporting numerous violations could not influence it.

The Aliyev clan, despite this and corruption scandals, will lead the country in the next seven years. Aliyev prudently resolved the issue of limiting re-election, and now he can" be elected «as much as he pleases, even if he holds the post of President for life. Also, the country has reduced the age limit for candidates from 35 to 18 years, thus, Aliyev’s son will be able to take the presidency in 2025: after the fourth term of his father.

That is, the Aliyev family is not going to give the power, which confirms the talk about the authoritarian form of government in the Republic. This is confirmed by human rights organizations. Freedom House in its annual report on the state of freedom in the countries of transition noted that authoritarianism in Azerbaijan has only strengthened over the past year: restrictions of freedoms continued, consolidation of family power increased, pressure on its opponents did not stop. Politically motivated arrests have become commonplace. Ignoring the ruling regime of rules and regulations of democratic standards took on the character of national policy. This is reflected in ignoring the decisions of the European court of human rights, the kidnapping of critical journalists from abroad, the bribery of European politicians and media, persecution of minorities, surveillance of social networks and blocking objectionable websites, persecution of believers.

— Today there are no independent NGOs of human rights defenders and independent journalists in Azerbaijan. Our list of political prisoners includes 161 people, including 12 journalists and bloggers, one poet and one writer. Some prisoners have been detained for more than twenty years. The atmosphere in Azerbaijan is unbearable, oppressive, hopeless and immoral. People in this country continue to leave their homes and seek a better life outside the country, — said one of the main opposition figures to the Aliyev regime, the human rights activist Leyla Yunus.

All these years, the uncompromising struggle of the ruling clans has not stopped in Azerbaijan. There is a regional split in the country, both at the top and among the opposition. All this is happening against the backdrop of the annual decline in oil production. The situation is saved only by the price of black gold. Representatives and servants of the tribal authorities, understanding the deplorable state of affairs in the country, withdraw their assets outside the country. The media increasingly flashed the names of relatives of corrupt ministers who open companies and financial organizations abroad at the expense of funds taken out of Azerbaijan. For example, the son of the former Minister of national security, one of the most corrupt Azerbaijani officials Eldar Mahmudov — Anar Mahmudov, opened a financial company MEA Capital Limited in the UK. Also, the press was informed that the UK intends to seize the property of ex-speaker Rasul Guliyev in the near future, as well as the son of the former Minister of Transport Ziya Mammadov — Anar Mammadov. The Azerbaijani Ambassador in Spain Anar Magerramov was convicted of smuggling alcoholic beverages, and his father — the rector of the main University of the country, Baku State University, academician Abel Magerramov is fired for a drunken brawl. And there are plenty of such stories of bureaucratic lawlessness in Azerbaijan.

The Republic lost all chances to be a developed and strong state during the rule of the Aliyev regime, which encroached on the national good. Of course, the Azerbaijani people will never see the stolen money. Not from a good life people, most of the independence of the country go to work in neighboring countries.

The flawed model of power in Azerbaijan is largely due to the lack of fair elections: both the President and the Parliament are formally entrusted with the mandate of trust of the people, but in fact, they are not accountable to the people, which they serve. The whole model of power is focused on the figure of the President and the «presidential camarilla». In fact, the President and his entourage are not accountable to anyone, because existing institutions are too weak to balance and control this power. These systems of power are doomed to the rotation in a vicious circle: on the one hand, they are generated by the weakness of democratic values, norms, institutions, on the other — they seem to preserve this state. Because to expect these systems to change on their own would be the height of naivety. Expect these systems to change on their own would be the height of naivety.

A formal change of elites while maintaining the existing corrupt bureaucratic system and the model of presidential dictatorship will not change anything. Not today, but tomorrow — all the same not to do without political and legal transformation of the operating model of the power. Today, theoretically, there is still a chance-a real opportunity to take a course on comprehensive reforms and the formation of a softer, balanced and legal model of the presidential Republic. To ensure this chance, it is necessary to realize the real threats from the political elite and society-need a peculiar «revolution» in the minds, contributing to the growth of civic consciousness, personal responsibility, self-esteem, and self-confidence. After all, the government begins to meet the needs of society only when society begins to demand it.

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